Should those with underlying health conditions get the COVID-19 vaccine?

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A nurse prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, as the U.K. health authorities rolled out a national mass vaccination program. U.K. regulators said Wednesday that people who have a “significant history’’ of allergic reactions shouldn’t receive the new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine while they investigate two adverse reactions that occurred on the first day of the country’s mass vaccination program. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

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(ABC4) — The COVID-19 vaccine is here, which may be good news for adults with underlying medical conditions who have a higher risk of contracting a severe case of the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated information on December 26 for people with specific conditions to consider before receiving the vaccine.

The CDC says that those with underlying medical conditions can receive the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine as long as they have not experienced a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine’s ingredients.

ABC4 reached out to the Utah Department of Health for comment on the safety of the vaccine for those with underlying health conditions.

Utah announces who will receive the COVID-19 vaccine next

“Right now the recommendation is that anyone who can should get vaccinated. If you’re sixteen or older, the vaccine has been approved for you. If you do have underlying medical conditions, the recommendation is that you work with your physician to figure out if the risks of getting COVID-19 don’t outweigh the benefit,” Jenny Johnson, the Public Information Officer with the Utah Department of Health, says.

“The only people that Pfizer and Moderna have said not to get vaccinated, or at least have a discussion with your doctor, is people who are allergic to the ingredients in the vaccine.”

Should people with allergies get the COVID-19 vaccine?

A vial of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine that receivedemergency use authorization is seen at George Washington University Hospital, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

Here’s what the CDC knows at this point about the safety of the vaccine for people with each of the following conditions.

Weakened Immune Systems

Those with HIV or weakened immune systems can receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but they should know that there is limited data available at this point about the safety of the vaccine to both groups.

People with HIV took part in the clinical trials for the vaccine, but again, data specific to this group is not yet available.

The CDC says that the vaccine could possibly cause reduced immune responses in those with weakened immune systems.

Health officials track safety, side effects as COVID-19 vaccinations roll out

Autoimmune Conditions

Similarly, those with autoimmune conditions may receive the vaccine, but there is no safety data available about how they could react to the vaccine at this time.

Previously had Guillain-Barre Syndrome

People in this group can receive the vaccine, and so far, none of the participants in the vaccine trials have reported getting Guillain-Barre Syndrome following the vaccine. Having a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome is generally not a precaution to receive other vaccines, according to the independent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices general best practice guidelines for immunization.

Previously had Bell’s Palsy

People who previously had Bell’s Palsy may receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Cases of this condition were reported in participants following vaccine trials. However, this condition occurs in 25 to 35 people per 100,000 every year, and the number who developed the condition after the vaccine trials is well below that average, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.

The FDA says there is no reason to believe that the vaccine caused the cases of this common condition.

According to the CDC, until more is known about the protections the vaccine provides, those who get vaccinated should continue to follow safety measures such as wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding crowds, and washing hands for 20 seconds or longer.

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